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As a Reds fan it just annoyed me to see them win... Not because I hate them but because I know how bad they are.
Were they the best team in baseball? No.
Were the best team in the NL? No.
Did they get hot when they needed to? Yes.
I will say they sure are lucky the Mets didn't have any pitchers that weren't hurt or the Mets would have rolled easy... but... they didn't.
Their pitching was great in the series though.
Here's Peter Gammons article that is a very good read...
Cards all about people, not money posted: Sunday, October 29, 2006 | Print Entry
ST. LOUIS -- In the end, Adam Wainwright, who said he didn't know if he'd make the team out of spring training and hadn't closed before September, finished the World Series for the Cardinals, who (censored) near blew a 12-game lead, and the final game was won Jeff Weaver, who was designated for assignment in Anaheim because he lost his job to his younger brother. Oh, true, the Cardinals had the lowest winning percentage of any champion, and there were all those mudstains from Tiger pitchers whose throws went bump in the night ...
But who is left standing at the end is not about wrong or right, but good -- and bad -- and the convergence of time and place. And this wet, frigid World Series will forever stand as testament to the rusted signs we ignore throughout our lives, choosing the shiny ones instead. It's not about the best player at every position. October baseball is like March college hoops -- random, streaky, proof that most of the sport's predictions are invalid and intellectually dishonest.
Some baseball and media officials groused when the Cardinals opened the gates in the eighth inning and allowed thousands of fans to come in out of the street to see the Cardinals -- those Cardinals most of their grandparents loved -- win. Two years earlier in the fourth (and final) game of the 2004 series, that same management opened the gates at the old Busch Stadium so more than a thousand Red Sox fans could finally see their team win the World Series.
When the Cardinals get their rings next spring, no one will care about 83 wins or whether elitists dismiss them; that's what it is. Their fan base, a rich part of baseball history as the most western and southern franchise for more than half of the 20th century, never lost its blind faith that is so contrary to the metabolisms of the coasts to either side.
Their Cardinals are world champions, no matter what the Mets and Yankees and Red Sox spent. Their symbol and MVP, David Eckstein, was a walk-on at the University of Florida, designated for assignment by the Red Sox for Lou Merloni, released by the Angels for Orlando Cabrera and has now been the driving wheel of two of the last five world champions.
The Cardinals are proof that, in the end, the games are played by people and that the biggest, richest and best don't necessarily win. "So much," says Scott Rolen, "has to do with who gets hot at the right time." Aching shoulder and all, Rolen got hot at the right time, rising himself above any cold war that had developed with Tony La Russa. The same holds for Jim Edmonds.
Some final thoughts:
Starting pitching won for the Cardinals, as it did for the White Sox in 2005, the Red Sox in 2004, the Marlins in 2003. In three series, the Cardinals' starters were 8-4, 2.63. In the series, they allowed nine earned runs in 35 innings in five starts with a 28/5 strikeout/walk ratio.
During the regular season, Cardinal starters were 61-54, 4.79, with 588 strikeouts in 941 2/3 innings and 74 quality starts. Only three National League starting staffs had a worse ERA, three staffs struck out fewer, four had fewer quality starts.
It doesn't matter if it was Trenton, Anaheim or St. Louis, the David Eckstein Effect -- that energy he exudes -- fuels his teammates. La Russa calls him "the most intense player I've ever managed," and while Eckstein was too untalented to get a scholarship at Florida, play on The Cape, avoid being designated by Boston or junked by the Angels, his end result is that of a star player. There is no doubt that he was the best free-agent shortstop signed in the 2004-2005 offseason in which he, Nomar Garciaparra, Renteria and Cabrera hit the market. Do not underestimate the help Eck has gotten from coach Jose Uquendo, who may be right there with Bud Black in the Padres' managerial search.
Walt Jocketty is one of the most respected executives in the game, if not the most liked, so this was a great moment for a baseball lifer. He has had to scramble the last couple of years. When one looks at Chris Carpenter, Eckstein, Weaver, Ronnie Belliard, Wainwright, et al, one sees a huge body of creative work. Jocketty has a long winter in front of him as Mark Mulder, Jason Marquis, Weaver and Jeff Suppan all become free agents. Wainwright might start, Anthony Reyes may too, but it will take more creativity. You can bet the Cardinals will be right in it next year.
The nation saw what everyone in St. Louis knows -- that Carpenter is simply a great pitcher. The pride of Raymond, N.H., thrives on pressure and adrenaline. He admitted he couldn't "wait for (his first series) start to begin," and before Thursday's rainout was asked if he knew if he were pitching Games 6 or 7. "I don't know and don't care. When they hand me the ball, I'll pitch," he answered. "I just want to get out there. No excuses here."
That's seven different series winners in seven years of the 21st century, which has never happened in the NFL, NBA or NHL. The last six winners have come from the NL West, AL West, NL East, AL East, AL Central and now the NL Central. Take the Dodgers in 2007.
Did Mark McGwire play in St. Louis? Is he up for the Hall of Fame this winter? You would never know it. McGwire played a large part of building the new ballpark, and one got the impression that they'd rather have honored Ricky Horton.
The games are never about us in the media, but for me this was the greatest World Series of my lifetime because I was so fortunate to be there. In a year when I lost two friends named Kirby Puckett and Joe Niekro to the same disease that struck me June 27, it will never be lost on me.
For those who sit between walls and do not know the people in this game, they would never understand that so many players -- from Carpenter to Jason Grilli, Pudge Rodriguez to Josh Kinney -- reached out to help my long, tedious healing process. I will never forget that on the field after Game 5 more than a dozen Cardinal players came up and expressed their feelings for my being there to see them win, maybe more important than the thousands of Cardinal fans who every day expressed their concerns for my health.
If my life were on videotape, Puck and Niekro would have been there with me. To know that I will see the likes of Carpenter, Grilli and Brandon Inge next spring makes me one of the luckiest people on earth.